California Supreme Court upholds removal of judge following sexual misconduct charges

On Jan. 27, the California Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by Jeffrey Johnson, a former justice of the 2nd District Court of Appeal Division 1. The state Commission on Judicial Performance removed Johnson from office, effective July 2, 2020, after charging him with nine counts of misconduct.

The charges against Johnson included sexual harassment, inappropriately touching a female justice, and harassing California Highway Patrol officers, attorneys, and female court personnel. The alleged misconduct dated to 1999, when Johnson served as a federal magistrate judge.

In response to the court’s decision not to hear the appeal, Paul S. Meyer, an attorney for Johnson, said, “This decision deprives the public of a diverse jurist who is universally acknowledged to be a brilliant and exceptionally fair judicial officer.”

Johnson was appointed to the California Second District Court of Appeal in 2009 by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). Before serving on the court, be was an assistant U.S. attorney for the Central District of California and a U.S. magistrate judge.